Nominations at key awards shows are nothing new for Shawn Mendes and Leon Bridges; both artists were nominated for two Grammys earlier this year. But to be nominated for CMT Music Awards must be kind of a kick for artists who aren’t part of the country music scene.
Both artists are nominated for CMT performance of the year for their appearances on CMT’s flagship series, CMT Crossroads. Mendes is nominated for teaming with Zac Brown Band on a performance of the band’s “Keep Me in Mind,” a No. 1 hit on Hot Country Songs in 2011. Bridges is nominated for teaming with Luke Combs on a performance of Combs’ “Beautiful Crazy,” which is currently in its 11th week at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs.
Two other nominees in that category were also recognized for appearances on CMT Crossroads. Boyz II Men were nominated for teaming with Brett Young on a performance of their 1991 smash “Motownphilly.” Meghan Trainor was nominated for teaming with Brett Eldredge on a performance of her 2018 song “Let Me Be Right.”
The two remaining nominees in the category were cited for their performances on the 2018 CMT Artists of the Year special. R&B great Gladys Knight was cited for teaming with Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town for a performance of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and “Help Me Make It through the Night” (which Knight recorded with the Pips in 1972). Americana star Brandi Carlile was cited for teaming with Maren Morris on a remake of the Aretha Franklin classic “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
Four non-country performers have won in that category (CMT performance of the year) in the last five years. Lionel Richie won in 2014 for teaming with Luke Bryan on Richie’s early ’80s songs “Oh No”/”All Night Long (All Night).” Bob Seger won in 2015 for teaming with Jason Aldean on Seger’s 1973 song “Turn the Page.” Jason Derulo won in 2017 for teaming with Bryan on Derulo’s 2015 smash “Want to Want Me.” Backstreet Boys won last year for teaming with Florida Georgia Line on BSB’s 1998 smash “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).”
Richie and Bryan won for a performance on the 2013 CMT Artists of the Year special. The others won for their performances on CMT Crossroads.
Two other pop stars received noms this year in the collaborative video of the year category. Julia Michaels is nominated, with Keith Urban, for their 2018 hit “Coming Home.” Taylor Swift — who, of course, was a big country artist before she became an equally big pop artist — is nominated with Sugarland for their 2018 hit, “Babe.”
Two pop stars have won in that category over the years. Bon Jovi won twice, in 2006 for “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” featuring Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, and again two years later for “Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore,” featuring LeAnn Rimes. The former song reached No. 1 on Hot Country Songs.